Abstract

An optical ring circuit is considered in which gain, loss, and feedback are provided by refractive-index gratings in photorefractive crystals. The photorefractive feedback coupling element, which replaces an ordinary mirror, is assumed to be much slower than either the gain or the loss. As a result, the state of the photorefractive mirror depends on past states of the circuit; that is, the photorefractive mirror has a memory. The system’s behavior is then determined by the relative speeds of the gain and the loss. When their speeds are roughly equal, the system exhibits both ordinary bistability and history-dependent bistability, whose character changes as the system evolves. Graphic techniques aid in the understanding of the nature of both types of bistability. When the gain is significantly faster than the loss, the system exhibits one of three varieties of self-pulsing: pure self-pulsing, interrupted self-pulsing, or delayed self-pulsing.

© 1991 Optical Society of America

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